SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the premiere episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. If you have not yet watched the episode, read on at your own risk!
As is appropriate for a show titled The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, the latest Disney+ original from Marvel Studios sees its premiere primarily focus on catch-up with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes – but it’s also more than a little hard not to notice the teases for characters whose significance will only expand in upcoming episodes. Specifically, the first chapter delivers teases of the roles in the show that will be played by Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman... and while we don’t know too much about the parts right now, the stars and filmmakers behind the series have offered us some brief previews.
Between the brief moment of Kellyman handing out Flag-Smasher masks, and Russell accepting the mantle of Captain America, I found myself incredibly curious about the characters going into the virtual The Falcon And The Winter Soldier press day last weekend, and felt compelled to ask Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, head writer Malcolm Spellman, and director Kari Skogland about them. Between the three interviews, Skogland was the most tight-lipped (unlike when she told me about the remarkable aerial sequence), but the titular stars of the show did offer up a fun comparison for us to judge the new antagonists by:
Anthony Mackie: They’re the exact opposite... They work so well cause they're the exact opposite of us. Everything that makes us fly swag-licious, cool, sexy – they are the Canadian version of that. There are the exact opposite of us.
Sebastian Stan: Basically upstanding, dependable people is what he's saying.
While very little has been confirmed about Erin Kellyman’s role in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, what we do know after the first episode is that she is a key member of Flag Smasher – and organization formed in the wake of The Blip promoting the idea of dissolving borders between countries.
There’s even less information available in the premiere about Wyatt Russell’s part, as he merely shows up in the final seconds to accept Captain America’s shield and moniker, but that lack of clarity is balanced by the fact that it’s been revealed that he is John Walker – a character Marvel fans know from the comics as uber-patriotic villain/hero U.S. Agent.
For his answer to the question, Malcolm Spellman opted to speak in vague terms outlining what we could call the antagonist agenda in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Earlier during the same interview he told me how his approach to Flag-Smasher was about letting the audience understand multiple perspectives on complicated issues, and he looped Wyatt Russell’s John Walker into that conversation as well with his response to what was my final question, saying,
I will give you this, every single person in this series, including the villains, think they're heroes and operate as such. And the heroes definitely understand where the villains are coming from in this series.
We’re obviously now hyped to see what Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman bring to the complex fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we’re counting down the days until the next episode of the series airs as a result. While we can’t say for certain exactly how deep it will dig into the mysterious characters, episode two of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier will be available for your viewing pleasure on Disney+ starting Friday, March 26 at 12am PST/3am EST.